February 11, 2015

February 11, 2015  Day 82 South for Winter
Burnt Store Marina
Punta Gorda, FL

We are having way too much fun! We usually manage to update the blog on a more timely basis, but somehow it has eluded us. Here is a summary of our activities since January 27 when we last wrote.

We did leave Ft. Myers on Jan 28 and anchored out the next two nights, at Cape Haze and at Otter Key – both were lovely anchorages. We arrived in St. Petersburg on Jan. 30 and were greeted by Gay and Mike, Looper friends who are spending the winter in a condo in FL. They rode their bikes over to see us and we had a fun visit. On Saturday we walked to our favorite Farmers Market and came back with meat, vegetables and fruit. We had just returned when we heard from Brooks and Sarah who had driven up to St. Petersburg for the weekend, so they came over for a visit! We love these surprises!
Any bets on who gets the fish on the end of the line??
Joyce’s sister, Kathy and brother-in-law, Paul arrived on Sunday for a week long visit. It was such a joy to have them with us.  We had planned to depart on Monday but we stayed an extra day due to weather. We enjoyed going for walks, having the best gelato, and going to an outdoor art show.

We departed St. Petersburg Tuesday and cruised to The Moorings at Longboat Key for three days. This is in an upscale resort and we felt spoiled. The resort shuttle took us to the beach upon our arrival and we had a relaxing afternoon walking along the beach and then sitting pool side. We had dinner at Whiskey Tavern, one of the restaurants at the resort.  On Wednesday we took the shuttle to St. Armands Circle, an upscale shopping mecca. We browsed through many shops and had lunch at Columbia, a local favorite Cuban restaurant since the early 1900’s.  We had dinner on board that evening.  We went back to St. Armands Circle Thursday to meet Paul’s cousin, John and his wife Pam who drove up from Venice to join us for lunch at the Crab and Fin. 

Joyce and her sister, Kathy on the beach at
Longboat Key
Due to weather issues, we cancelled our plans to go to Clearwater Beach on Friday and returned to St. Petersburg a day early. We had a bumpy ride all the way with four foot waves, but since they were on the bow, it was not so bad.  We discovered more Loopers had arrived! Scott and KC on Jet Stream were there by boat and Freya and Don (Last Resort) were there by car. More great reunions!!

We walked back to the Farmers Market on Saturday morning with Kathy and Paul and came back with more goodies.  We grilled steaks that night and had a nice dinner on board.  Sunday arrived all too soon and Kathy and Paul had to return to Atlanta that afternoon.  Bill did manage to work in a dinghy ride for Paul and they toured the harbor at St. Petersburg. We had such a good time having them with us. We played a board game, “A Ticket To Ride” countless times during their stay and became quite competitive!

We departed St. Petersburg and cruised seven hours to Venice, five of which were in the rain.  We were glad to get docked at the Crow’s Nest just after the rain stopped!  We spent two nights there. Friends, Ron and Lisa with whom we did the Down East Loop, joined us for dinner at the Crow’s Nest and then came back to Carried Away for dessert (we bought a delicious Key Lime Pie at the restaurant). We spent the evening reminiscing about our wonderful journey together. Many thanks to Lisa for taking Joyce to a few stores that afternoon to do some necessary provisioning!

We are now at Burnt Store Marina (south of Punta Gorda) for two nights. We had such a good cruise today and were thrilled to have one dolphin in particular swim along side of us for several minutes. Tomorrow will be a maintenance day – oil change, laundry, cleaning, etc.